Category Archives: Productivity

Small wins is the ideal way to develop more productive leaders and teams

How a 1% change can make a real difference

How a 1% change can make a real difference
One of my starting points for small wins is to ask managers and leaders to commit to a 1% improvement goal in the next 30 days. It does not matter what the goal is — the aim  is just to encourage leaders to start innovating. The goal is to make a small difference then see the benefits and repeat. Before you know it you (and your team) have created a new positive habit. The mechanism is small wins. One such company that does this on a systematic basis is Atlassian - a software company ... Read more

How small wins can help you achieve a bigger goal.

How small wins can help you achieve a bigger goal.
Our youngest daughter (not her in the picture) is about to obtain her learners car license. It will take her a minimum of 12 months and 120 hours of driving to achieve a provisional license (which has to be recorded in a log book). So the big goal is to obtain her license in 1 year’s time — the first time. It’s a big and important goal for her. But the only way she can get there is through a series of small wins. In no particular order she must learn how to: – Start ... Read more

Six ways leaders can reduce the risks of innovation

Six ways leaders can reduce the risks of innovation
Innovation involves trial and error, risks and failure. We all know this. But there is a problem. Most leaders and managers don’t enjoy the emotion of this. Who would? Why take a risk they  feel when the returns are uncertain? So lets deal with the emotions of this because innovation is vital. So here are a few suggestions to address how leaders feel about risk: 1. Start small. The entire basis of small wins innovation is getting more leaders to innovate, more often by going small. ... Read more

As a leader what are you and your team testing in the next 30 days?

As a leader what are you and your team testing in the next 30 days?
In much of the literature around innovation there is a strategy which talks about moving into adjacent markets. I have never really liked this description but the idea is a good one. Serving a market that is close to what you are doing at the moment makes a great deal of sense. In this example, SUBWAY is offering a range of products to the catering market (I found this outlet in the city near the business sector). In this case it builds on the strengths of SUBWAY and offers a potential new ... Read more

Where do big ideas come from?

Where do big ideas come from?
Small ideas. That’s right. Almost every big idea or big success started as a small one. An entrepreneur or small group or team in a large organisation has a small idea they think might work. They test it, measure, learn and share what happens. This is exactly the process I suggest in small wins innovation (i.e. create, test, measure, learn & share). Then they iterate.  Again and again. Over time a small idea can transform into a bigger one. The implications? You can never tell in ... Read more

What is an effective innovation KPI for leaders?

What is an effective innovation KPI for leaders?
We all know KPI’s are important. In theory they are a guide to what you and your team believe to be important and serve as a form of evaluation (i.e. to what extend did you achieve your KPI’s). One of the problems leaders have wrestled with is what is an appropriate and effective KPI for innovation? If it is for the people responsible for innovation then there are a number of measures. For example: – time to market – sales of products less that 3 years old – ... Read more

A simple way for leaders to test & learn

A simple way for leaders to test & learn
I recently had a meeting with a leader from a major bank and she told me about their formal test and learn program. The basic outline is as follows: - it involves senior (executive managers) only – every quarter they must conduct a legitimate test and learn project - this is one where they genuinely are trying to learn something new or develop a new solution - the emphasis is on trying new things. A test would not be considered valid if its in the normal course of work. - every ... Read more

How do leaders select a small wins project?

How do leaders select a small wins project?
One of the questions I often get asked by leaders is: Where do I start with small wins innovation? Here is one suggestion. Create a 2 by 2 matrix. List say 4 to 8 small projects that you might like to get done in the next 30 days. Divide these into small effort (by the team) or large effort. Then do it again but this time use the criterion — potential impact. Ideally you will have at least 1 project which requires small effort yet can generate a big impact. Start here. You and your ... Read more

What is your 1% goal for the next 30 days?

What is your 1% goal for the next 30 days?
I spent last week working with a leadership team  from a mineral technology company. One of the concepts I introduced them to was the 1% goal. I asked them to think of and commit to a improving something by 1% in the next 30 days using the small wins methodology (i.e. 5 steps). One of the leaders wanted to improve his meetings with his team. Another set her goal as improving her coaching of her team. What they all loved what the idea of a 1% goal. It seems so simple, easy and achievable. I ... Read more

How do leaders select a small wins project?

How do leaders select a small wins project?
I am often asked in my workshops and key note speeches on small wins innovation, How do you select a small wins innovation project? My rule of thumb is this: – It should be a problem, opportunity or issue where you can realistically expect to complete the 5 steps in 30 days or less (i.e. create, test, measure, learn and share). - The project is within your control or influence - The project should engage or motivate the team - There are sufficient resources e.g. time, budget or people ... Read more